The Runner (Point)

by Cynthia Voigt

Paperback, 1987



Call number

PB Voi

Call number

PB Voi

Local notes

PB Voi




Fawcett (1987)


As a dedicated runner, a teenage boy has always managed to distance himself from other people until the experience of coaching one of his teammates on the track team gradually helps him see the value of giving and receiving.


Iowa Teen Award (Nominee — 1988)
Gouden Griffel (Zilveren — 1988)
Best Fiction for Young Adults (Selection — 1985)


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

4 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member rachelellen
This is a flashback book, telling the story of Dicey's uncle. The best thing about it is the view you get of Dicey's grandmother as a younger woman, and all the hints of what made her the way she is. Interesting treatment of a domineering father -- made me think of the way someone very dear to me
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grew up -- and also of mindless racism and what happens when people can put it aside. You probably want to read this one before "Come a Stranger".
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LibraryThing member MissReadsALot
I thought this book was so, so, not my fave. It took me forever to read and I thought the other books in the sreies were a lot better.
LibraryThing member jenreidreads
I think this was the weakest book in the Tillerman series.
LibraryThing member foggidawn
Bullet Tillerman runs, not to win races, but because running is what he’s made for. He goes his own way, but occasionally something crops up in life that makes him stop and think. One of these occasions is when the track coach asks him to mentor another cross country runner, a black man named
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Tamer Shipp. What will it take for Bullet to move past his own prejudice?

Ah, I remember why I didn’t like this book as much as I like the other books in the series. For one thing, Bullet is so angry all the time that reading is a tense, unhappy experience. Also, and this may constitute a spoiler, but only in the vaguest sense, something bad happens to a dog.

I don’t want to be too critical, because this book has all of the earmarks of good writing present in Voigt’s other books: Bullet’s characterization is terrific, his change over the course of the novel believable and hard-won. The dialogue is smart and snappy, and there’s no shortage of wit in the writing. It also fills in some blanks from other books in the series, which is nice. But I don’t think I’ll ever read it again.
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LibraryThing member fingerpost
(Writing this having read only the first four books in the Tillerman series)

With "Homecoming" and "Dicey's Song," Voigt accomplished something that I suspect if mighty difficult for an author to do... she created a protagonist (Dicey Tillerman) who, if you actually knew her personally, you probably
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wouldn't like her very much... but as a reader, you loved her, rooted for her, admired her, and maybe liked her a bit too, knowing all the background behind why she is the way she is. But for me, she did not accomplish this with "The Runner."
Bullet Tillerman is Dicey's uncle, dead before the series begins in "Homecoming." This is his story. Like Dicey, you probably wouldn't like him if you knew him personally. I know I wouldn't. But unlike Dicey... I didn't admire him, or root for him, either. He is always angry at someone, if not everyone. He is surly, uncommunicative with everybody, and seems to care nothing at all for anyone but himself and his own selfish wants. For me, such an unlikable main character made for a book that I didn't enjoy very much, even though I acknowledge that it was just as well written as the first three. Just as compelling... but I am happy to leave Bullet Tillerman behind and move on to the next in the series.
Bullet is the last of the three siblings at home. Johnny has gone off on his own, and Liza (Dicey's mother) has run off with her boyfriend, who makes a brief, unlikable appearance as well. His father is absolutely loathsome, his mother, who we know from Dicey's Song pretty well, is... prickly, but understandable. The plot centers around Bullet's inherent racism and the integration of the public schools. He is an obsessive cross country track star, and the coach has asked him to help train a new black guy on the team. As you might expect, through the course of the book, Bullet learns a bit, and isn't as racist at the end as he was in the beginning, but he doesn't change enough to make him appealing.
The only really pleasant character is Patrice, a curious old fisherman who employs Bullet as an assistant. He takes absolutely everything in the world in stride. Nothing upsets him, no matter what. As such, he is about the only person Bullet respects and likes. I'd have rather read a book about Patrice.
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LibraryThing member elenaj
This is not a pleasant read. Bullet is not a likable protagonist, even as his way of being in the world is unusual and fascinating. On top of that, for anyone who's read the other books in this series, foreknowledge about the end of his story haunts the rest of the novel.

And yet, this unflinching
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look at a painful life in a wrenching time in US history is as thought-provoking and beautiful as it is harrowing.
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½ (117 ratings; 3.8)
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